Many changes have occurred throughout the 10 years College Possible has served Omaha and the surrounding region. Every alteration has revolved around one thing: the students we serve. Throughout the years, we have made adjustments that took into consideration not only how our students work, but also where they most needed our assistance. College Possible has changed a lot in 10 years, but it’s always been student centered.
When our program started, we required students to meet with their AmeriCorps coaches twice a week after school for two hours. However, as the environment of our world changed, we adapted our program with it. Programming is now more student-centered, utilizes 1:1 coaching sessions, and workshops to be more flexible to meet student needs.
Students learn from a curriculum centered around ACT prep, college exploration and research, preparing resumes and essays, applying for scholarships and FAFSA and completing college applications. We also focus on finding the right college fit for each student by considering academic, social and financial factors. With the addition of the college curriculum in 2012, we’ve also invested in our college programming by providing support from their first day of college until they cross the graduation stage.
The pandemic forced us to utilize more technology, a very useful tool in interacting with students. Many students attend 1:1 schools, where they are provided with a device, which helps us deliver curriculum and meet with students virtually. We still prioritize in-person work, but now we can meet students where they are and support them in achieving their goals.
During a student’s first year of the College Possible program, they focus on ACT prep and college exploration. These junior students learn about what types of colleges are available and how the college system works. Senior students focus on getting their college applications out, completing FAFSA, selecting the right fit school, and completing the steps necessary for enrollment. We support seniors in the summer before they attend college to ensure they feel comfortable and prepared for starting college in the fall.
For college students in the program, our AmeriCorps coaches focus on helping them navigate through college. They focus on dealing with financial aid, getting connected to campus resources like tutoring and office hours, getting involved on campus, and general support to help them graduate.
College Possible has impacted many lives in the 10 years we have served in Omaha. While I have many memories of the students I’ve worked with during my time with College Possible, one student I recently worked with sticks out. Ana graduated from Barnard College this year. I got to know her while she was a student at Omaha South High Magnet School, and seeing her growth and success is incredible. I also enjoy watching our AmeriCorps coaches become young professionals in their fields and know that College Possible got to be a part of their journey.
There is a lot to celebrate as we begin our 10th year of service. While we have made changes, College Possible Omaha is here and always will be, to serve students.